o One ten-page primary research presentation:Students will present a ten to fourteen page paper (@2500 words) at semester’s end based upon primary research. Throughout American history, African Americans struggled to fully control their image– especially within the mainstream–and their identity was informed by how they were seen by others. Despite their progress in the 20th
century, African Americans were still dependent upon white mainstream sources to define African
American identity, unlike other immigrant groups who could more easily establish their identity
PROCEDURAL NOTES: No use of electronic equipment will be allowed during class unless by express
permission of the instructor (e.g. tape recorders, video recorders, cell phones, computers, tablets, etc.). ES 150-02 SYLLABUS, Fall ‘14 3
through an established sovereign outside America (e.g., Italian Americans via Italy, Mexican
Americans via Mexico, etc.). We shall use Hollywood as an informal litmus test to explore the
question of how African Americans were and still are seen by “their own” mainstream culture.
Find an American mainstream movie (released by a major studio) made between 1990 and 2014
that you believe showcases a black character. Watch the movie and address the following:
• Is the movie truly a mainstream movie? Or is the movie a “black movie?” How much does race
factor into the story development? How much inter-racial mixing occurs? Does this reflect
reality or an ideal?
• What debates surround the movie and its impact within the African American community?
How does this movie deal with narratives from the Unholy Trinity? What other historical events
& trends that we have covered influence the protagonist’s image? Do any historical
• In which ways does the black character demonstrate or evidence their value? Does this differ in
any material way from other white mainstream heroes typical of the same genre and era?
• What does this movie suggest about the status of blacks and their overall status in American
society? Does the movie acknowledge any “unfair” treatment for African Americans? If so,
how? If not, why do you think this is? Is the black character compromised or marginalized in
any way in relation to any white characters? If so, what does this imagery mean for
contemporary race relations?
NOTE: In picking a mainstream movie, ensure that it is a “regular” mainstream movie and not a movie that
explicitly and expressly engages historical race relations (e.g., “The Help,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Amistad,” etc.
-Two-person student teams will write on a movie of their own choosing in consultation and with
the Professor’s approval by Week 5 to avoid duplicate entries. Papers will be presented to the
entire class during the final two weeks of the semester. In the live presentation, students must use
three movie clips that each speak to a component of the Unholy Trinity.
Power point should included short video that explain what talking about in papers.
The movie: The equalizer: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0455944/
Please read instructions carefully and focus on the black actor as “denzel washington” in this movie and how is hollywood and media portrayed him as African American.
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